POSTED: July 25th 2012
Tokyo 2020: Team Japan Paralympians 135 strong and revved up to go for the gold at the London Paralympic Games
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
July 25 – The Japan Paralympic Committee (JPC) has officially launched the Paralympic team with is 135 strong with a passionate rally in Tokyo yesterday.
Masato Mizuno, bid ceo, said, "I wish our Paralympians the very best of luck in achieving their Paralympic dreams.
"One of our goals in bidding to host the 2020 Games is to help the nation of Japan and the Paralympic Games form a closer relationship and to create excitement around this dynamic event.
“Also, although Tokyo has already made great strides in improving accessibility, by organising Games of excellence and innovation, we want to continue to take advantage of the latest technologies to develop a 100% barrier-free capital to welcome the world."
The JPC is working in synergy with the Tokyo 2020 bid to make sure that the bid plan and venues correspond to the Paralympics needs and will be convenient, accessible and comfortable for all Paralympians and spectators of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Present at the ceremony were representatives and dignitaries from government, business and sport, including Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and sports fans from across the country who wanted to cheer on the Japanese Paralympians and rally excitement about the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Mitsunori Torihara, JPC President and Tokyo 2020 Council member, said, "Today, we gather together as one to show our stalwart support for our Paralympians.
“I sincerely hope the Paralympics will help further promote sporting opportunities internationally for all people with disabilities.
“And of course, I look forward to seeing our Paralympians put on a strong showing as well.
“Additionally, performing well at the London Games will add further momentum to our Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic bid and help build excitement in Japan."
Some of the keynote speakers at the event were Prime Minister Noda, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hirofumi Hirano, Senior Vice Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Chinami Nishimura, Chef de Mission of Japanese delegation and JPC Secretary General Kunio Nakamori, and Sir David Warren, the British ambassador to Japan.
Swimmer Keiichi Kimura, who will be the flag bearer for the Japan Team, said, "Last time was the first time I participated and I was still in high school, so it was all very new and over far too quickly.
“This time, I'm focused on producing results and am very determined to bring home a medal or two."
Fellow Paralympians who were present at the event were wheelchair marathoner Wakako Tsuchida, Athens Paralympic gold medallist in the Women's 5000m; three-time consecutive Paralympian in Wheelchair Rugby Hiroyuki Misaka; and swimmer Rina Akiyama, who will be competing for the second consecutive time.
The London 2012 Paralympics are opening on August 29th and closing on September 9th. There will be 4,000 athletes participating in 503 competitions and the JPC team will be striving to outdo their Beijing tally of five gold, fourteen silver and eight bronze medals.
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Laura Walden ()
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